‘Risky Business: Pricing, governance, and integration in European insurance markets, c. 1400 – c. 1870’

The objective of our project is to collect as many existing databases of insurance prices from our fellow historians as possible. Many of us have data on insurance prices, sometimes regarding isolated markets or covering a few years. Some of us have databases that extend to several markets or longer periods. When we, Sabine Go, Giovanni Ceccarelli, Adrian Leonard, and Guido Rossi, met in the course of working on an ERC financed project led by Maria Fusaro from Exeter University, we realized that the combination of the various individual databases would be more valuable than the separate parts. Combining all these separate databases may not only prevent the loss of this information, but also give new insight into the development of insurance prices and markets.

In the past six months, we have – with the help of experts – designed a database that can combine all these varying databases into one comprehensive database. This database, and a website to facilitate it, is currently being built. When it is completed (mid-2020), we will test the database with some data we have collected ourselves or that have been provided to us from our network.

Apart from working on the database, we are still collecting databases from various sources. We now have data regarding approximately approximately ten insurance markets from the late 14th century until the late nineteenth century. The database will be able to process printed sources and various digital formats. In the near future we also intend to add tools that can process handwritten sources.

One of our priorities is to guarantee the reliability of the database. We are working on setting up procedures to warrant the quality of the data we make accessible. Finally, we are in the process of developing Terms of Use, taking into account any relevant legal issue.

As for the project team – we are delighted to announce that Dr Guido Rossi from Edinburgh University has joined our team. His expert knowledge regarding insurance law in early modern times is of great value to our project. Also, we are proud to announce that Martin Daunton, Earle Havens, Maria Fusaro, François Gipouloux, Francesca Trivellato, and Jan Luiten van Zanden have joined our Advisory Board. For more on our network and the project, please visit our website on: www.riskybusinessdb.nl.

We appreciate your interest and would be happy to answer any question you might have on our project or the database, and we would be delighted if you were interested in joining our network.

Sabine Go, Giovanni Ceccarelli, Adrian Leonard, Guido Rossi